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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Caffeinated Beverages Table: How Much Caffeine Content and Cost per Cup

How much caffeine is in your cup?

How much caffeine is in your cup?
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

I once read that caffeine is “mildly habit forming”. This can be easily verified by trying to go a day without coffee…
Being a penny pincher, it is natural for me to consider whether I am paying too much for my daily caffeine. I drink a couple 20 oz cups of coffee that I brew at home after grinding my own beans. I would say this is similar to the quality and caffeine content of coffee shop coffee. Millions of people drink coffee, tea, soda, and even energy drinks every day. How much caffeine are we getting, and how much are we paying for it?
I checked prices of some popular caffeinated items, and gathered information on caffeine contentment to get a handle on this. It turns out that I am getting more caffeine than I thought:

Table of caffeine content for popular beverages and cost per serving
Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

A good cup of coffee has A LOT of caffeine!

As you can see from the table above, Coffee Shop Coffee has 415 mg of caffeine per 20 oz cup. That's 5 times more than a Red Bull! And I drink 2 coffees every morning. No wonder I'm so productive...
I once tried drinking chocolate milk in the morning, but that didn't last. The table may reveal the reason: chocolate milk has almost no caffeine.
Now, let's look at cost more closely. How much would it cost, and how much would you need to consume, to get the amount of caffeine in 1 cup of coffee shop coffee?

Table of cost to obtain the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee from popular foods and beverages
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

OK, now you can see why I couldn't drink enough chocolate milk to be happy in the morning! It would take 208 12oz bottles of chocolate milk to equal the caffeine in a cup of strong coffee. Cost: $290. Eating chocolate bars is also an expensive way to get caffeine. Coffee is hard to beat in value, only hot tea and Vivarin caffeine pills are more cost effective.
If you're trying to cut down on coffee, hot tea looks like a good alternative from a cost perspective. Tea also has health benefits, although I tend to drink green or decaf tea since I get plenty of caffeine already.
I'll put the data in a graphical format so you can see how the options for caffeine stack up:

Caffeine content: longer bars = more caffeine
Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Cost to obtain the amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee shop coffee from foods and beverages
Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Coffee Drinking Tips:

  • A good cup of coffee is a good value in terms of cost for the caffeine content 
  • Easy does it, you might be getting more caffeine than you "need".  Consider substituting a cup of tea or other coffee alternative for that 2nd cup of coffee
  • Those expensive energy drinks may not have as much kick as you thought...

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

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